Dear Lord, Make Me Funny.

Image

Although I would settle for you making everyone else less funny so that I seem funnier by comparison.

My husband is a big Joel Stein fan and just bought his book “Man Made.” He told me I had to read the intro. Just the intro. It’s hilarious. Well, turns out, Mr. Stein’s intro is funnier in four pages than I am in 41 years. I’m not certain of the conversion rate on those two units of measurement, but I’m pretty sure it makes me sad.

Because you can’t fake funny. Some people just are. I am not. I do have funny moments. When I’m drinking. Because alcohol makes me funnier makes me think I’m funnier. But the rest of the time? My cat is funnier than I am. (In my defense, though, she is hilarious.)

Although, according to my friends, I do excel at being unintentionally funny which is better than nothing. And probably puts me somewhere between Sponge Bob and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the funny-meter.

Funny Meter

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When ‘Looking Good’ Becomes ‘Looking Good For Your Age.’

Let me preface this by saying, my age has never bothered me. No, really. Thirty? Psh. Forty? Bring it on.

I am now 41. No biggie. I’m holding up well (sort of). I have no problem telling anyone how old I am, whether they ask or not (which sometimes confuses the checker at the grocery store). But, a week ago, I picked up the local business journal and it had the annual “40 Under 40 to Watch” article. And it occurred to me…even if I was rocking it in my profession, I no longer qualify. Why this was news to me, I have no idea, but it was an unpleasant realization (probably compounded by the fact that I’m a 41-year-old who is only TWO years into her profession and by the time I’m rocking anything, it’ll be time to retire).

Then, last weekend, my husband cruelly reminded me that he was only 40 and that I would turn 42 before he even turned 41. (We’ve been married almost 17 years and he has actually always been more than a year younger than me so, again, this should not have been news to me.) 

Well, I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m actually starting to look 41. I find that my age-related-zen may have relied a little on the fact that everyone thought I was younger than I am. And were continuously shocked that I have a 19-year-old daughter. Alas, the shock is fading.

It doesn’t help that women, in general, seem to look better. All this “40 is the new 30” crap? Absolutely true. So, if I had a time machine and could go back to 1987, I would be an amazing-looking 41-year-old. In 2014? Not so much. Case in point: my 20-year high school reunion. If movies teach us anything, it’s that you go to your HS reunion for the sole purpose of seeing the popular girls who were mean to you transformed into fat, frumpy, bitter divorcees. My classmates did not get the memo. Frankly, the lack of cellulite and wrinkles was disturbing.

So apparently they raised the bar when no one was looking. But, life’s little truths still remain…true. 1) age is just a number, 2) living well is the best revenge, 3) always wait 30 minutes after eating before going swimming, and 4) all you need is love.

Comments on the Comment Section.

Some people are like slinkies...

If I’m feeling a little too relaxed, a little too happy-go-lucky, or if I ever start giving humanity a little too much credit, I just go to a news site, celebrity blog…anything really…and read the stupid shit people say in the comment section. I’m not talking about here. This little aspiring-writer universe we’ve got going and my kindly 64 blog followers who joke with me and do not call me out on stupid shit are excluded from this rant.

But beyond this universe? Oh my God. Blinding, white-hot rage. Examples:

  • People who callously or maliciously comment on tragic stories. My family had a personal tragedy several years ago and there was a news story online about it. Some asshole comments to the effect that “it was their own stupidity and I’m more sorry about the traffic jam it caused.” This story resulted in a toddler being in ICU for three months and passing away a few years later at the tender age of seven. But, by all means, dick, tell us what you think.

Many people are alive only because it's illegal to shoot them.

  • People who pontificate on an expert’s blog. Most recently I made the mistake of reading the comments on a literary agent’s blog. This was an agent who’s been in the business a long time and I’m guessing people read her blog to get her insight. This guy apparently thought readers were there for his insight. Yeah, I realize you work at Starbucks, but please, tell me more about your insight into becoming a New York Time’s best-selling author.  No, really.
  • People who comment on a celebrity’s blog just to tell them they hate them. Your mother was right. If you don’t have anything nice to say – go play in traffic.

So, yeah. I try to not read comments on blogs, articles, news sites…because Einstein was right.

Two-things-are-infinite-The-Universe-and-human-stupidity-and-Im-not-so-sure-about-the-universe

Comments?

Stupid Lawyer of the Week.

Yes, I’m sure there is more than one, but this gentleman was brought to my attention. In the off chance that even one single misguided reader might think, “hey – this is the lawyer for me!” I’m refusing to post any links to his website. Or even use his name. For the greater good.

This line is included in his bio:

<He Who Shall Not Be Named> gives all his heart, sweat and often sheds his own blood in resolving cases…

It really says that. What does that even mean? Is he an emotional cutter? Does he participate in Fight Club on your behalf? Is he talking about paper cuts??  Sigh. Alas, we may never know.

His website, however, is full of details of his big-ticket court victories and a profile picture that looks like it was intended for e-Harmony. Or a Caesar’s Palace poster in Las Vegas lauding his magic act. And why did his name even come up? Because he is the first lawyer hired on in a high-profile, genuinely tragic case that will spawn an ocean of litigation. With this guy leading the charge. Hopefully bleeding all over the place.

The Bloggess Is Now Following Me on Twitter…and Other Signs That My Plan For World Domination Is Coming to Fruition.

I don’t want to be an alarmist, but Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, started following me on Twitter. (In case you aren’t familiar – find her, follow her.  She’s hilarious…and ever-so-slightly damaged in an entirely relatable way.)

I am now convinced that between my 49 Twitter followers and 51 blog followers (yeah…I picked up 15 more by shamelessly asking people to follow me.  Who knew that would work?), my massive sphere of influence is going to creep pervasively around the globe and seep into people’s consciousness like some nightmarish subliminal message.

Just kidding.

I’m just going to convince people that the fast lane is for passing, that it was a travesty that it took so long for Rush to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and that acting like an asshole should be a misdemeanor. Or at least an infraction carrying a hefty fine.

The Funniest Things I’ve Ever Read…

Top-5 style.

1. The first five to ten Stephanie Plum novels. I don’t have examples, but there was repeated LOL’ing…and misguided attempts to read funny passages, out of context, to my unamused husband. Yes, I’m still a Stephanie Plum devotee – mostly because if Janet Evanovich gets that hilarious again, I don’t want to miss it.

2. The Bloggess – And That’s Why You Should Learn to Pick Your Battles. I love this chick.  And this bit made me cry. Three words: knock knock motherfu**er.

3. Dave Barry defining the term TMI in this detailed description of his close encounters of the butt kind.

4. F U Penguin. The book, not the blog. Only because I bought the book before hearing of the blog. But the book is just shit from the blog…and here’s a snippet for your reading pleasure.

This bear is essentially raping my soul

So basically this totally thoughtless motherfucker decided regular bears weren’t cute enough. His solution? GIVE HIMSELF NATURAL FUCKING EYEGLASSES. Then, becoming the single cutest animal on the face of the earth, he laid on his fucking back so we could all see his goddamn belly, and then furtively glanced in our direction, thereby rendering any potential defense against his advances totally useless. Well played, Bear. I’m going to go take a shower now.

5. Shit My Dad Says. It’s a book. It’s a Twitter account. It’s effing hilarious.

“Sometimes life leaves a hundred dollar bill on your dresser, and you don’t realize until later that it’s because it fucked you.”

I’m sure as soon as I hit “publish” I’ll remember some other gut-wrenchingly funny thing I read…that I’ll just keep to myself.

Let’s hear it.  What made you laugh till you cried??

This Blog Is Entirely Self-Serving.

But, not to worry, it only has 36 followers. So I’m apparently not servicing myself all that well (that sounds a little dirty). Here’s your definition (lest you thought I was kidding about my infatuation with dictionaries):

self-serving (adjective) \-ˈsər-viŋ\ :  serving one’s own interests often in disregard of the truth or the interests of others

Ouch. I have to disagree with the “disregard of the truth” part since I obviously use this bitch to overshare constantly.

And why is it self-serving? Because 1,000 literary agents tell you that you ought to have a “platform” from which to market yourself. So me and 500,000 other aspiring authors just like me (yes, your mother lied – you are not special) run out and create blogs in hopes of building a platform. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that my 36 blog followers are not going to land me a coveted book deal. I suspect you need more like 36,000 followers before an agent gives a shit about your platform.

Bottom line? I’m only mildly interesting and occasionally funny (but only in writing – one of my BFF’s assured me that I am not at all funny in person). But I’d like you to help me serve myself and follow me anyway.

Why My Decision-Making Privileges Should Be Revoked (alternately titled: Why I’m Interesting at Parties)

So, the connoisseur of poor decision-making thing.  People continually seem to get a chuckle out of that line.  But a connoisseur?  Really?  Since I’m a fan of dictionaries (and had to look it up anyway to see if I’d spelled it correctly), here you go:

con·nois·seur
ˌkänəˈsər,-ˈso͝or/
noun
: a person who knows a lot about something: an expert in a particular subject

I would say I qualify.  Clearly, since I am not dead or in prison, I can laugh about most of my poor decisions. And, because I enjoy humor at my own expense, here is a sampling, in no particular order:

  1. 1993 – At 20 years old, deciding to drive to Vegas to marry a guy I’d only known for 6 months…because it seemed like a good idea at the time. (Yes, I know that I said “in no particular order” and that sure as hell seems like it would be “Number One,” but let’s just say it seems to be the first one that comes to mind.)
  2. 2008 – Deciding to go to law school at 36. Point of fact, I love my job, but that is because of the people I work with and not the whole “being an attorney” thing. It’s not bad, but it will definitely not hold up to a cost-benefit analysis…or a return-on-investment analysis…or even a pro-con analysis. Oddly, this also seemed like a good idea at the time.
  3. 2008 – Taking off my diamond rings on a beach in Mexico to apply sunscreen.
  4. 2001 – Quitting Intel. But, who knows, if I’d stayed, perhaps not quitting Intel would be on the list. But if it were on the list, No. 2 would not be. Dizzying logic.
  5. 2008 – (2008 was apparently a busy year) IM’ing a co-worker to speculate as to whether our boss looked pregnant…without being certain I wasn’t accidentally IM’ing my boss instead. Thankfully she was, in fact, pregnant. And she didn’t fire me.
  6. 1991 – Quitting my job and moving to Utah.  Yes, Utah (where I had no family, friends or job). Still scratching my head over this one.
  7. 1988 – Bangs.  I had curly hair.  That was never going to end well.
  8. 2000 – Thinking ‘go big or go home’ applied to tattoos.
  9. 2002 – The series of events that led to me almost being arrested on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
  10. 1991 – Jumping off that bridge over the river because, damn it, if my guy buddies could do it, so could I.  No, I don’t recall which bridge…but it was high enough that you had to hide if the cops drove by because, surprisingly, you weren’t supposed to jump from it. My (painful yet) superficial injuries from this brilliantly ill-conceived move did not require medical attention, but a kick in the ass may have been warranted.

Honorable mention goes to the dozens of times I have stuck my nose where it didn’t belong, overshared at parties, and failed to keep my mouth shut when wisdom, logic, or propriety called for it.

This is just a small sampling.  And no, I don’t obsessively catalogue and record all of my mistakes for future reflection. My OCD takes care of that for me.

Top 5 Literary Crimes Committed by Lawyers.

I was an English major before law school, but law school definitely did its damnedest to instill terrible, lawyerly habits in me that would have seriously pissed off my English professors.  And, yes, I’m going to limit this to just five.

5. Jargon.

jar·gon (ˈjärgən/)
noun: jargon; plural noun: jargons
1.
 special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.

Yeah, I’m not sure I even need to elaborate on that.  Thanks, Google, for that most-perfect definition.

4. The Damn Latin.

I belong to the only profession that didn’t get the memo that Latin was a dead language.  And we use it, too.  Granted, I myself don’t really know enough to be obnoxious with it, but you would be amazed by the number of briefs I read where other attorneys have expertly woven it into their prose which, ipso facto, is annoying.  (More annoying when I have to return to said Google to look up a word. Except quid pro quo, which, thanks to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, I know by heart.)

3. Verbosity.

I challenge anyone to come up with one other profession as skilled at using 30 words when five would do. What is funny is that law school actually does attempt to teach you not to do this.  Yet, when you combine overly cautious construction and a healthy dose of CYA? Voila. Legal prose.

However, in defense of lawyers (that may possibly be the first time in history that phrase has been written), every five words superfluously added to a contract were only added after someone sued and won because they weren’t there.

2. Awkwardly Proper Grammar.

When I’m home at the end of the day, there is definitely a release when I turn back to my novel (or my blog) because I can do what I want. I can use all the sentence fragments and dangling participles I want and no one can tell me I’m wrong because it’s style, and “in which” can go straight to hell. (i.e. this is the blog in which I rant about stupid crap.)

1. Double Negatives.

I saved this for last because it’s my favorite.  As an English major, double negatives are a no-no. In legal writing? They’re freaking everywhere.  Because, God forbid, you tell someone they’re right…only that they’re not wrong. Do you know how many times I have read a court opinion where the court says that “Plaintiff is not incorrect” in his argument? (Really, Judge?  He’s not correct?  No, no no. He’s just not incorrect.) Yes, I understand that it is driven by rhetoric and not flawed grammar, but still.  You’re not fooling anyone.  If you’re not wrong, by definition, you are right. Right?  I’ll agree with its usage in situations such as, “he’s not unattractive” or “she’s not an idiot”…because those are sliding scales. Not being unattractive does not make you Chris Hemsworth and not being an idiot does not make you Stephen Hawking.

I’d like to give an honorable mention to Passive Aggressive Writing. I didn’t put it on the list because I’m a fan. Genuinely. Telling someone that “I’m curious as to the source of your conclusions” when I’m actually suggesting they’re an idiot who didn’t do their homework is occasionally the highlight of my day.